Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Out of the Freezer and Into the Frying Pan

You know how you come home after a frustrating day, and you open the fridge and there's nothing, absolutely nothing in there to cook and your kids are whiney because they're hungry and they are starting to pick on each other and your husband is tired, too tired to pick up take out on the way home, and you yank open the freezer hoping there's a frozen pizza in there, but there isn't, all that's in there are some turkey burgers you froze last week when your daughter gave you a hard time about having turkey burgers AGAIN and she hates turkey burgers and so you said "FINE we'll have pizza" and she said, "I hate pizza we always have pizza" and you said, "fine we'll just not eat," and your husband got all prince charming and made you one of his new amazing drinks with gin and lemon; and you know how when you have a little gin you go to your happy place where cooking is really not an option and so you wrapped up all those turkey burgers and threw them in the freezer for another day, and your daughter came downstairs and allowed as how she could have pizza after all, so you ordered one, and turned on a movie and, now, flash forward in time and here we are with all those turkey burgers after a long day, but you never defrosted them and every one knows you should always defrost meat before your cook it it, because, because, well, why - why not, why not just throw it in a pan, frozen, on a very low heat, and cook it slowly and see what happens because there is nothing else in the house and what the heck.  You know how that happens?

Well, that was my day the other day and I took a chance.

I took four turkey burgers straight from the freezer and stuck them in a pan over very low heat, and covered the pan.  It did take a long time, but they cooked through, and you know what?  They were really really good: not dried out, not bacteria filled, and in fact BOTH my girls ate them and pronounced them yummy.  My theory is this: 1)the turkey was a mixture of light and dark meat.  2) I had also mixed them with shredded zucchini in an effort to use some of the enormous amounts of that vegetable I suddenly seemed to have and that kept them moist because zucchini is really water.  3) I have a tendency to squish my burgers very flat, because that's the way the kids like 'em, and I do what my kids like.  And, most importantly, 4) I think the very fact that they started our frozen was the very thing that kept them from drying out.  I do.

So, friends, fear not.  Drag your burgers still frozen from the deep freeze and toss them on into the frying pan.  And if you have frozen buns, stick those in the toaster.  Or, do as I did, and use plain old white bread toast and slap on a pice of lettuce and a slice of tomato (a nice heirloom from the farmer's market). I believe at the last minute I also added a couple pieces of cheddar.

My Recipe (but feel free to use your own - I think the key is to make the burgers fairly flat)
yielded 6 burgers

1/2 lb white meat ground turkey (more or less - )
1/2 lb dark meat ground turkey (very important, or your burgers will be dry and tasteless)
1 large zucchini shredded
A splash or two of Worcestershire Sauce
1-2 tsp of sea salt
ground pepper, as much as you like

Mix all of this in a bowl with your hands.  Form into 4-6 flat patties - I have girls so I make smallish burgers and give Smith 2 if he's really hungry.  Get into a big fight with your kid, drink gin, throw the burgers onto a cookie sheet and stick in the freezer.  After an hour, take them out and wrap in parchment and put each into a ziploc freezer bag.

To Cook:
Set a skillet on the stove.  Wipe the skillet with an olive oil drenched paper towel - you don't want too much oil or it will get greasy, but you don't want the meat to totally stick either.  Add the burgers, turn the flame on LOW.  Cover.  Resist the urge to check until about 10 min have passed.  Then check, if the burgers look less frozen, flip them.  Keep the flame on low for at least 7 minutes.  Then check your burgers, mine looked pretty juicy, and they gave a bit when I pressed them gently.  Then I turned the heat up a lot, took the cover off, and let each side sear a minute.  Take them out and let them rest covered in foil for 10 min.  Serve!  You will thank me for this, you really will.

OH - by the way, thanks for reading to the end of this post, and because you put up with me and my rambling on for so long about turkey burgers and teenagers I'm now going to give you Smith's recipe for his amazing summer gin cocktail, which, I promise you will kick your butt - so make sure you drink it in a small glass, like I do.  Smith got this recipe from his former boss who is now a friend, and who has a confusing last name, and who my children have called Mr. Guacamole since they were little, so I am calling this awesome cocktail, the

"Frank Guacamole"

1.5 oz gin 
.25 oz of Campari
.25 of Cointreau
.75 oz lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake.  Strain into martini glasses.  This is supposed to be enough for one cocktail, but I usually split this with Smith - then he'll make himself another later...